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MR-High Intensity Focused Ultrasound

Ultrasound waves present a pressure wave that propagate through tissue. Besides its application in diagnostic imaging, ultrasound can be focused on a target tissue located deep inside the body similar to focusing light with a lens. Energy dissipation within the vocal volume leads to heating of the tissue which can be used to induce local hyperthermia (approx. 42 ºC) or to thermally ablate tissue (T>55 ºC) without affecting the surrounding tissue. Simultaneous use of Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MR-HIFU) enables treatment planning based on high-resolution anatomical images and the monitoring of HIFU treatments via non-invasive MR-temperature measurements. The local heating but also the high acoustic pressure at the focus point can be used to induce local drug delivery in combination with stimuli-responsive nano- and microparticles, which is the main focuse of our chemistry related research activities. From biological perspective, we investigate the effects of HIFU on vascular permeability, the tumor microenvironment and immune response.

Proper acoustic characterization measurements are essential to correlate biological response with the exact nature of the soudn field. For the latter, we have an acoustic lab available in combination with acoustic simulations.